BIBU – Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation

The future of democracy relies on updating our institutions and processes to meet our global challenges. BIBU, Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation, explored how global transitions are reshaping citizenship and political decision-making in Finland.

The current global transitions involving globalisation, economic restructuring, urbanisation and migration, are challenging democratic systems. BIBU, Tackling Biases and Bubbles in Participation (2017-2022), studied how these transitions affect citizens’ political capabilities, interests and emotions, and how the political system is responding to these changes. Demos Helsinki was responsible for the societal interaction activities in the project. We organised public BIBU Talks events, and a BIBU Forum, a co-creation event for BIBU’s stakeholder groups. Demos Helsinki also coordinated Demoakratiakiihdyttämö, an accelerator for democratic innovations developed in Finland. As part of our work, we composed three publications for the general audience, one on the practical implementation of democratic innovations, and a scenario report in two languages.

The project identified citizen groups that are not getting their voices heard and are therefore not included in the wider societal discussion. It also investigated how social classes are transforming: Is the upper class, which gained its wealth from globalisation, raising itself above the rest of the society? Are new forms of marginalisation creating an unseen lower class? How is the middle class changing?

BIBU also developed models for democratic innovations to improve the capabilities of marginalized groups. We tackled the biases and bubbles in participation through democratic innovations, such as digital platforms and hearings in policymaking, citizen initiatives, participatory budgeting, digital diplomacy, empowering digital storytelling and reconciliatory citizen panels. Our aim was to establish Finland as a democracy incubator, an innovative democracy of international standing. As part of the BIBU work, Demos Helsinki led a scenario process which was marked as a synthesis of BIBU’s research. The scenario report was published both in Finnish and English

The project was funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) at the Academy of Finland, and led by professor Anu Kantola from the University of Helsinki.

For more information, please contact: 

Anna Bjork 
Research Area Lead

Julia Jousilahti
Senior Expert

Aleksi Neuvonen
Demos Helsinki Co-founder